Autumn chelsea buns

There are few things lovelier than the aroma of these buns baking in the oven. Enjoy at breakfast or for afternoon tea. They freeze brilliantly, too – just defrost and warm gently or split and toast like hot cross buns.

  • Preparation time: 40 minutes, plus rising
  • Cooking time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus rising time

Makes: 12


450g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting

7g sachet quick yeast

50g light brown soft sugar

1 tbsp mixed spice

200ml whole milk

50g unsalted butter, melted

1 egg yolk

3 tbsp syrup from a jar of stem ginger



60g unsalted butter (30g melted, 30g softened), plus extra for greasing

2 small eating apples (worcester, royal gala or spartan, or use jazz or estivale later in the year), peeled, cored and diced

3 balls stem ginger, finely chopped

150g pitted dates, diced

1 tsp mixed spice

50g light brown soft sugar

1 egg white

2 tbsp golden icing sugar, for icing


1 Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and mixed spice in a big bowl. Warm the milk gently in a pan or in the microwave, then whisk with the butter, egg yolk and ginger syrup. Stir into the dry ingredients to make a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic; return to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

2 Grease a 23cm x 33cm high-sided baking tray with butter. For the filling, stir together the melted butter, apples, stem ginger, dates, mixed spice and brown sugar.

3 When the dough has risen, tip onto a lightly floured surface and roll to a 40cm x 30cm rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle over the filling evenly. Starting with one of the longer sides, roll the dough up tightly like a swiss roll. Lightly flour a knife, then cut the roll into 12 rounds; arrange in the baking tin, cut-side up. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.

4 Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. When ready to bake, whisk the egg white and brush over the tops of the buns. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and risen.

5 Leave to cool, then make the icing. Mix the golden icing sugar with a little water (and a splash of ginger syrup, if liked), then drizzle over the buns before serving.